Hello I am totally new and do not know anything about Linux
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There are a couple of ways you can address your need for Microsoft Office.
(1) You can try using "Open Office", also called "Libre Office" these days. That is a Linux-native app that is very much like Microsoft Office. I use it to read and create Office documents all the time. But in all honesty, my needs are meager. If you have Office documents that are heavy on macros and other advanced features, I do not know how well Libre Office will handle those. You'll just have to try it and see.
(2) You can try installing Microsoft Office under "Wine emulation" on Linux. I have never done this personally, but I would assume it would work, at least partially. There have got to be many people who have tried this exact thing. So ask around regarding compatibility, etc.
(3) You could run Windows itself, and Microsoft Office as part of that, in a "virtual machine" under Linux. This would definitely work, but is also the most complex of the three solutions I am suggesting. Look into "VirtualBox" and "VMware" to create virtual machines. VirtualBox is free. VMware is commercial, but they have a free version that would probably suit you needs.
Another thing you will no doubt be looking for is web browsing and email. No problem, that should be quite transparent from Windows. If you happen to use Firefox and Thunderbird in Windows, definitely no problem - those exist natively in Linux. If you are using IE and feel you must stay with that one, geez, Im not sure about running that under Wine emulation. The basic function would probably work (I'm guessing), but things like ActiveX, SilverLight, and stuff like that? I don't know. Many many years ago I tried using Linux at my desktop at work where everybody else used Windows. I was very successful with that with one exception. That was Outlook calendaring. At the time, I believe the Linux equivalent program to Outlook was "Evolution". I'm not sure about that, because I might be remembering "Evolution" from more recent times and not from those days years ago when I was trying to make Linux work in a Windows corporate environment. I could never quite get it to work 100% like I needed for meeting scheduling, availability publishing, ... that type of stuff. It looked like it should have worked, but I was never able to make that reality. The email part was fine - no issues there. It was just the meeting scheduling. That was several years ago and things may have changed. Also, I was new to Linux at that time and was trying to learn on my own without any help from my coworkers or corporate IT.
If you use Visio, and need a Linux replacement for that - please let me know if you find one! I have not found a Linux-native solution that comes close to Visio. Of course, you still have the possibilities of running Visio under Wine (don't know about how well that works), or in a virtual machine (no reason for it not to work there).
Thank you for your information however at the moment, I have to find a way to get one of the Linux OS's to run from a disk. I want to try it that way before I make any real moves toward installing it as a permanent OS on my machines. I have had not been able to get a burned image to run and have not tried the paid "for disks" as yet either. Mainly due to many computer problems I have run into as of late. I was just out of the hospital after surgery and fooling around with Linux Zorin trying to get it to run from a disk and my HP Pavilion took a total dump on me and nothing at all would work. It wouldn't even get a message on the monitor except a blinking power button on the monitor. That happened after running defrag on the hard drive. I tried all the emergency start up disks and what have you and still nothing. So, I went back to an old home built machine and tried to get it up and running so I could still do some things. Rather than tell you all the problems, I am just now getting things finally up and running once again and working though all of Microsoft's as well as other programs restorations and re-licensing nonsense which is no small project. I hope to get back into it very shortly so I will not have to deal with all of this stuff any time soon again.
I have used Open Office in the past and it works relatively well but not as good as Word 2010 but it may have had changes for the better by now? It would jumble pages as well as pictures all over the place after a couple hundred pages and I couldn't find a way around it. I will say that I am all for anything that will say the hassles of having to deal with Microsoft and their buggy programs that they never really address before they come out with another totally different deal.
Sorry I haven't gotten back about "will not run" as I was in the hospital for a while for an operation on my bladder and ended up getting MERSA while there as well. So, I have not been working on getting any system to fire up. Right now I do not remember all the errors exactly. I did try to get Unbuntu and another OS for a desktop PC going. I burned the ISO Image to a disc using Roxio Creator NXT which had a warning about certain things which might not end up being carried from the image to the burned disc. I burned a total of 4 discs which none of the downloaded programs would run from. I figured that Roxio's warning was probably correct and I got no further as I ended up as I said above and very sick to boot.
I will have to try again at some point to see what had taken place and report back. I had also downloaded Image ED, Librre Office Portable, Zip Installer, and Mplayer as well as a couple other programs I had read about also. I do remember seeing the "files are corrupted." I will try the downloads a some point soon as I want to try to read up a little more about getting the ISO Downloads. Thanks, Jim
I did not know about the differences and all I have is a copy of the downloaded files as the came from the Distro. I will have to try the way it has been suggested. Thanks!
I will try to print out all this info as my memory is to short to get it all straight.
Hope you're feeling better Jimmyjack67. I had a similar issue with MRSA after an emergency surgery. All that aside, I've found the Mint 15 Mate distro to be very user friendly for the GNU/Linux beginner. I feel your pain regarding MS Office. LibreOffice works very well. However, I've encountered some anomalies when working with Excel docs that were imported to LibreOffice Calc. Word docs seem to work OK after being imported to LibreOffice Writer.
Office doesn't work well with Wine (or .wine, if you will). I've read that PlayOnLinux is good for running MS Office on a Linux distro, but haven't tried it. Here's the URL: http://www.playonlinux.com/en/download.html
Of course, you might choose to dual boot if you have a large enough hard drive. A clean install of your Win OS (with the latest Service Pack), enable "Large Disk" when formatting the installation, no updates and keep it off the web. Then install a Linux distro. Use the Windows OS w/ MS Office for your writing and a GNU/Linux distro for everything else- surfing, email, entertainment, etc.
I found a USB installation works well (I didn't have any spare blank DVD's at the time). But, if you install from a USB, you may have to change the boot sequence on your machine- in this respect, a DVD install is easier. Of course, as a previous poster noted, the ISO image must be mounted to the DVD, not simply copied.
Thanks for your imput. I really do not want to a clean system install unless I am left with no choice. I have been through that deal many times in the past and it takes many moons to get it done. Another thing is I have a 500Gb drive which is rougly 1/3rd is being used plus it has a small area for restoration that HP put in Windows XP PRO due to being an HP machine. I had cloned from the original 160 Gb drive to the present one. I want to be able to run an OS from disk until I see what will work or will not. I have been running Quicken sinse 1990 and use it for all my finances as well as other things and can't affort to lose that ss well as many years of documents through Word. I have backups but that also is not a totslly firm resorce especially when involved with different operationd systems.
I want to try two different OS/s first to see how things pan out before I jump to far ahead. Thanks for you help and I will be messing arond with things as soon as I get an image OS running.
Using a Live DVD or USB stick was already suggested?
"Doesn't run" doesn't really give us a clue (and neither does "I tried another") what's going on. Did you check the hash before burning the ISO? Does running the CDROM or DVD show any errors? At what stage does it halt? What kind of HW are you running this on?
Okay, I finally got Ubuntu 12.04.2-desktop-1386.iso to run from a DVD. My current machine is an HP Pavilion a1620y running XP PRO has a 3.7 Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2gig ram, an Hp 1270 burner, a DVD Player, and a pocket drive, has an ATI 200 Express graphics card and some other things as it is a Media Center. I know it is a 32bit machine as well. What I find with Ubuntu running from a DVD and about 15 mins later, it loses the USB connection and i can't do anything but re-start and the same thing happens every time. The Ubuntu OS finds all the USB components when it starts as well as my SMC wireless network but as I said it goes away shortly after. My HP is a USB 2.0 machine. I also have a 500gig hard drive which I had replaced the 160gig drive it had come with. This is about all I have come up with thus far.
If the problem with the USB stopping working is repeatable, I'd diagnose it by checking the system log and the USB resources. What I think I'm seeing is that you boot with Ubuntu 12.04, everything is fine and about 15 minutes afterwards, your USB network device ceases to work. Some things to do from a command prompt, after boot; when you know it's working: (you will likely have to do sudo with these commands)
dmesg > /tmp/system.log
Find from those what your resource is named; i.e. there should be a wireless network adapter shown via iwconfig, and the IP information for that should be shown via ifconfig. More details about the USB specific resource should be shown via lsusb and in the system log, derived by dmesg, you should be able to see which USB resource was discovered to be your wireless adapter.
That point in time later where you find it's no longer working. First try iwconfig and ifconfig to see if the wireless adapter is still there, or some sort of fault has occurred with it, or it's network assignment. It it doesn't show up at all, then re-run lsusb and see if now there is a difference in the discovered devices, specifically to see if the one previously assigned as your network adapter is gone. And if you find that it's no longer in your list of USB devices, check your system log via dmesg; (1) you would potentially see newer logs beyond when you dumped the system log before; if any exist, then those logs are the ones you are interested in (1a) if there are no newer logs, nothing has happened to your USB resource, something must have happened to your network configuration, like a power saving feature or something (2) if there are logs, chances are these logs say something relevant to your USB device as discovered previously. If you see stuff that looks like it detected a USB device was disconnected, then something happened to that USB connection to your network dongle. However, that would seem unlikely with the thinking that you're not likely unplugging it, and any power management would be administered by the system, not done on the dongle itself. I'm thinking that you need to understand or better identify what disconnected means and then diagnose further.
To answer one of your inquiries which you've made several times about Microsoft Office. If you truly cannot bear any conversion problems or issues with content generated by Microsoft Office; then run out of Windows, do not try Wine; do not try OpenOffice and then try to decrypt any potential problems you could run into. I think with the level of experience you have, you'll rapidly run into problems that you'll find unacceptable, and given your insistence that the Office based content not have any of its integrity at risk, then this would not be a situation where you ought to experiment.
Meanwhile if you wish to learn Linux, there have been a great deal of suggestions where you can try it and learn it. My recommendation is that you learn it well enough that you'll have confidence should you decide to eventually migrate any critical content over to Linux. The main point there being that you'd then be able to convert content to either format and keep backups, if any issues were to arise.
I appreciate all the input as I am trying it a little at a time. Right now I am just trying to get a couple of the OS/s to run off of a DVD to see what might take place and, I have been also trying to make backups of most everything as I play around also.